2020 iPhone 12 shipment estimates slashed by half, says DigiTimes

Iphone 12 Design Leak
Iphone 12 Design Leak (Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

What you need to know

  • DigiTimes says iPhone suppliers are bracing for weak shipments in 2020.
  • The report claims that estimates for shipments have been slashed by half.
  • This is leading to increased levels of competition between suppliers.

A new DigiTimes report says that suppliers are bracing themselves for weak iPhone 12 shipments this year, with estimates slashed by half.

According to the report:

Apple is expected to launch its 5G iPhone later this year, but its supply chain partners are now much less optimistic about shipments for the new devices that reportedly will support mmWave in 2020...Shipments of mmWave-enabled 5G iPhones slated for launch later this year are estimated to reach only 15-20 million units in 2020 compared to a previous supply chain estimate of 30-40 million units, intensifying competition among Apple's suppliers of FC-AiP substrates for the new phones, according to industry sources.

As the report notes, supply chain estimates previously tipped Apple's 5G iPhone, likely named iPhone 12, to ship between 30-40 million units. This estimate has now been revised massively, with expectations now reportedly only set at between 15 and 20 million units, a 50% reduction.

Fighting for fewer orders, the report says that this is driving competition between Apple's manufacturing partners, noting that China is gaining ground on Apple's Taiwan-based manufacturers:

Apple has been relying mostly on Taiwan-based manufacturers for assembling its devices, but Chinese makers are now gaining ground, as the US client looks to diversify its supply chain.

DigiTimes notes in a separate report that Chinese manufacturers are gaining ground in Apple's supply chain as Apple looks to "cut costs, diversify production risks and better tap the Chinese market." It notes that Apple has allowed Chinese partners to further increase their role in making iPads, Apple Watches, and AirPods, posing "growing threats" to Taiwan vendors.

There is no indication given as to why the iPhone 12's shipment forecast has been cut so heavily, but there are likely a number of reasons. The global pandemic, still in full swing in many parts of the world, has likely caused economic and financial pressure which may prevent some potential customers from upgrading. Another potential reason is delay. If, as previous reports have suggested, the iPhone 12 is likely delayed by even a number of weeks, there will of course be less of 2020 in which to sell the phone, and 2020 shipments will fall as a result. As such it may be that the prediction for shipments has not been revised "down" but actually "back" to later in the year, cutting the figure as a result.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9